Rats For Pets – Rat Information

Are Rats Good Pets?

Cute Rat Picture

Looking for information about rats and wondering if they make good pets? I'll go over the pros and cons of owning a rat to help you make your decision.

As a previous rat owner, I'll share my experiences with you and open the discussion doors in case you have any questions. It's best to have as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision.

The photo of this cute rat is by Charles Jeffrey Danoff from Flickr under Creative Commons Licensing. Ready to learn more?

Should I Get a Rat?

Rats as Pets

Rat Photograph

Often, when people think of rats, they think of filthy, disease ridden creatures that cause nothing but property damage. Right? Well, if you're looking at wild rats, this can hold true. After all, they are natural scavengers who will eat just about anything and can carry a variety of diseases.

However, it's a much different story when it comes to domestic rats. Domestic rats are clean, loving and social animals who love to be held and given attention. They can make wonderful pets.

There are a few things to consider when getting a rat. Even though you may have a certain amount of time to spend with it, being that rats are so social, it's best to get two so your rats always have company. Be sure to get two same sex rats or, you know happens. :-)

Also, don't plan on keeping them in a cage all the time. Rats love to come out and play and explore. Caution should be taken if you have other animals in the home such as cats. A rat could make a tasty meal for one of them.

Rat image by Rathater at Wikimedia Commons.

Although some people blame rats for the spread of the Bubonic Plague, it was actually the fleas on the rats who caused the disease.

Where Can I Buy Rats?

Pet Rats For Sale

Pretty Rat

Rats can be purchased at pet chains such as PetSmart or Petco. You can also purchase them from breeders.

Personally, I would look into any local pet rescue groups including the SPCA or Humane Society as there are times they have rats who need homes.

If you have an online Freecycle group in your area, you might check that out as well. Sometimes, pet owners need to find homes for their pets for one reason or another. The cost is free and the pet owner is happy to know their pet is going to a new good home.

Image by Robin Stjerndorff at Wikimedia Commons.

Rats Video

Baby Rats

This inspirational video is of rescued baby rats who had been dumped in a shoebox.

Rat Lifespan

How Long Do Rats Live?

Rat Lifespan

Generally speaking, the average rat will live for 2-3 years. In my case, both of my rats developed tumors. According to the vet, (and I'm not saying whether this is true or not, merely what the vet said,) there were rats that were bred to have tumors in order to scientifically study them.

With such a short lifespan, this is something to take into consideration, especially if you have kids. The loss of a pet can be truly devastating.

White rat image by Janet Stephens and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Stevenfruitsmaak.

Caring for a Rat

Pet Rat Guide

Pet Rat Picture

You'll need something to keep your rat in. I recommend a wire cage that has at least two levels with ramps so the rat has plenty of room.

As far as litter goes, I avoid any type of wood type shaving. Instead I use Carefresh, which absorbs quickly and has a low dust factor.

For food, get some rat pellets and add fresh fruit and vegetable to it. Suggested food items include apples, carrots, strawberries and broccoli .

As rats teeth continuously grow, be sure to have some kind of a wooden chew toy for your pet to gnaw on and you might also add a couple of rat toys to the cage.

Pet rat image by Waldemar Zboralski at Wikimedia Commons.

Pet Rat Poll

Rat Cages

Super Pet My First Home for Exotics, Large
Super Pet

I like this cage because of the different ramps and platforms, not to mention the cute hammock. Although mine never ran inside the wheel, they did enjoy climbing on top of one.

PETCO Rat Manor Habitat

This one is nice and roomy. Plenty of room for more than one rat, along with some fun rat toys.

Sorry! We can't find product B0001RTUZ8

Rat Bedding, (Litter)

Absorption Corp Carefresh Natural Pet Bedding, 30-Liter
Care Fresh Litter
Amazon.com: $12.31

This is chemical free and contains no inks or dyes.

Rat Books

Rats: Practical, Accurate Advice from the Expert (Complete Care Made Easy)
Debbie Ducommum

This book is written by Debbie Ducommun, an expert on rats, who is affectionately known as The Rat Lady.

The Complete Guide to Rat Training
Debbie Ducommun
Amazon.com: $12.91

If you plan to have a rat or rats, why not train them? Not only can you teach your rats tricks, this book will help you to understand rat behavior.

Rodents for Pets

Rat Pic

To go back to the original question as to, "Are rats good pets?" the overall answer is yes. These little guys are clean, intelligent, lovable and playful.

I still recommend if you are planning to get one, instead get two as they love company and attention.

The comment box below is open, so please feel free to ask questions or share your experiences.

Rats image by Ectopistes666 at Wikimedia Commons.


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30 leaves
146 forum posts
What do you think about having a rat as a pet?
0 leaves
61 forum posts
Lilymom on said:
We currently have three pet rats and they're so cute! We adopted two of them from a rat rescue and purchased the other from a pet store(because she looked lonely). They're sweet and spoiled!lol. Great pets and my kids love them. I'm not thrilled with the short life span but we'll enjoy them while they're here. Nice leaf and great ratty pics. =)
30 leaves
146 forum posts
Nice to hear you are enjoying them so much.
0 leaves
36 forum posts
Great leaf but rats give me the heebee jeebees actually I'm scared to death of them.
30 leaves
146 forum posts
I once felt like you until I had them as pets. It totally changed my way of thinking about them.
0 leaves
229 forum posts
Paz on said:
The rodent family don't have a very long lifespan, my sister had a hamster years ago she was a lovely little pet.

I think domestic rats are cute, I also love the ratatouille movie.
30 leaves
146 forum posts
It's sad that the lifespan is so short.
20 leaves
11 forum posts
mihgasper on said:
Talking about rats I always remember great movie you probably never heard for. It is called Izbavitelj (A Redeemer), directed by Krsto Papic and was made in former Yugoslavia in 70s. I believe it can be found with English subtitles if you look around a little. When you are in a mood for mix of horror and first class black humor, I certainly recommend it. Maybe for a Halloween party?

Rats are so versatile...
30 leaves
146 forum posts
I can't say I've heard of this but, you're right. It does sound good for Halloween.
16 leaves
65 forum posts
I've never had a pet rat but I agree they can be cute and a lot of fun. I'm glad you said about getting a pair, since they don't enjoy being solitary.
6 leaves
6 forum posts
WriterLady on said:
I love rats. They are very intelligent and loving. Mine used to run around while I worked on the computer. Gyp would pull on my shoe until I pulled my shoes off, then pull on my socks until they came off and then curl up on top of my foot and go to sleep :)

The only negative is that they do tend to dribble urine. I don't know if it's a marking thing or what...
6 leaves
6 forum posts
WriterLady on said:
I love rats. They are very intelligent and loving. Mine used to run around while I worked on the computer. Gyp would pull on my shoe until I pulled my shoes off, then pull on my socks until they came off and then curl up on top of my foot and go to sleep :)

The only negative is that they do tend to dribble urine. I don't know if it's a marking thing or what...
7 leaves
135 forum posts
Sunnyside on said:
I know lots of people have and love their pet rats, and I could just see my daughter doing the same. As for me, I would not want a rat for a pet, no matter how cute they can be.

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